Saturday, May 3, 2008

Short Story Saturday

David rushed through O'Hare airport, desperate to reach his connecting flight to Kentucky, to home. He'd been gone for almost a week, forced to attend an insurance symposium for the company he worked for, Genuine Insurance. He was working really hard to get the promotion that would be in the offing when old Abner retired, sometime next month.
Carley had been very cranky with him when he left, her being 7 months pregnant with his twins. His mother had not been making life easy lately, either. It seemed like noting he did could make either woman happy. Sighing, he quickened his pace, and made it to the gate just in time to watch his plane take off. Without him on it.
"Well that is just fantastic" he thought, watching the plane taxi down the runway. The headache he'd been nursing all day thumped in time with his heart, right in the center of the forehead. Frowning, he rubbed his aching head, and approached the ticket counter.
"Ah, excuse me, young lady. I seem to have somehow missed my connection home" he reported, once he finally got to the counter. The young woman, tall, slim with jet black hair and slate blue eyes, makeup perfectly done barely gave him a look. With a few clicks of her mouse, she said
"Tomorrow. 8 am. Best we can do. Here is a food voucher, if you want a cheap motel catch the train to the right of the airport, take it to Conrad Avenue. Up 2 blocks, on your left. Motel 4.
"Where is my luggage?" he asked, taking the food voucher. Looking down, he saw it was for 12 dollars. "Won't get me much" he thought, morosely. Money in his household was tight, he had just enough to put some gas in his tank once he got home, to Kentucky.
"Went to Kentucky. It will be there when you get there, maybe" she answered, then dismissed him with one, cool glance.
Sighing, he trudged off, new ticket in hand.
Perusing his choices, he went with what was the least expensive, from "The awful Falafel". "Awful is right" he thought, as he bit into their offerings. Sipping his tepid tea, he managed to choke the falafel down. Looking around, he spied a kiosk that held a payphone. He'd need to call Carley. He didn't own a cell phone. The company claimed it could not afford to give one to everyone, so only the senior employes got one. "Maybe when Abner retires" he thought. Sighing, he fed money into the phone. Carley answered on the fifth ring, and he could hear young Wade screaming in the background, along with his oldest daughter, Bella, yelling. Closing his eyes against the noise, he rubbed the bridge of his nose, hard.
"Carley? How you feeling, sweetheart?" he said, gently.
"Like shit. Where are you?" she snapped back. He could envision her, standing with the phone stuck in her ear, rubbing her back.
"Well, see. I am stuck in Chicago" he answered, softly.
"What?" she shrieked, then tore into him for the next five minutes. Taking it patiently, and explaining it away as hormones, David waited her out. When she was done, though, she started to cry. That nearly undid him. As he started to comfort her, a tinny voice echoed over the phone, advising him that his time was nearly up. "I don't have anymore quarters, babe" he said, sadly.
Suddenly, her voice sounded clear as a bell. "Fine" she said, back to angry. With a click, all he heard was the dial tone. Shaking his head, he walked away, and out the doors. Following the black haired girls instructions, he got on the train, and, found his way to Motel 4. Using the credit card for emergencies only, (he figured this was one), he checked in to the cheapest room they had.
Upon entering the room, he shook his head at what he'd just purchased for the night. One single, small bed, adorned with a lime green comforter greeted him. The pillows were bright orange. Hanging on the wall, in all its glory, was a Velvet Elvis.
"Didn't think anyone still had one of those hideous things" he thought.
The bedside table had cigarette burns in it, despite the fact that he had asked for a non smoking room. He noted the clean, but dirty ashtray located on the dresser. Sighing, he pulled back the covers, and examined the bed for bugs Finding none, he stripped down to his white boxers, and went to sleep.
At midnight David got woken up by the person next door, with a hacking cough. Rolling over, he jammed the pillow over his head, grumpy. Eventually, he went back to sleep, only to be awakened again, by the noise coming from the people above him. Squeaky, squeaky squeaky....
groaning, he got up, used the restroom and drank the last of the bottled water he had bought at the airport. Eventually, the squeaking stopped, and David went back to bed.
All too soon, he got his wake up call. Glancing at the cheap clock, he cursed. They'd called him 20 minutes late. Hurredly, he pulled his pants and shirt back on, and ran out the door. He missed the next train by about 30 seconds, and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. Arriving outside of O'Hare, he entered at a dead run, and, thankfully, made it to his gate in time to check in for his flight home. Only to find he'd been placed on stand-by. The black haired girl had neglected to tell him that last night.
After waiting an hour and a half, there was one seat left on the plane. David gratefully accepted it, and upon boarding discovered that he was going to be stuck in the middle seat, between an elderly priest, and an overweight realtor. Two hours later, thanks to "technical difficulties", they UN-boarded the plane, and got on another, and then, 30 minutes later, took off.
Once they finally landed on the ground in Kentucky, David felt like he wanted to kiss the ground. The priest had rattled his rosary the whole trip home, speaking in latin, and the real estate agent had spent the whole time trying to convince him to buy a home, from her, preferably. If he heard "it's a buyers market!" chirped at him one more time, he was going to vomit.
Once he got into the airport, he learned his luggage had gone on from Kentucky, to Miami, Florida. Wearily, he gave the luggage claim attendant his address, hoping his clothing would be delivered sometime in the next century. When he eventually made his way to the parking lot, he discovered his car, a rusty blue Datsun, had a flat tire. And all he had in the trunk was his old "may-pop". Disgustedly, he changed the tire, then crawled home, at 30 miles an hour so that the may pop wouldn't pop.
It was 6 pm by the time he finally got in the door, only to find his wife, standing at the stove, stirring hash, hair in curlers. His kids were at the table, eating peanut butter sandwiches without the crust, and drinking grape Kool-aide. His mind flashed, to that one day, long ago. He could still taste the sugary kool-aide on his tongue.
"What did I do to deserve this?" he thought to himself, as he sank down dejectedly in the kitchen chair, which splintered under his weight.


Bubblewench said...

Poor guy! That's a rough business trip.. and where is this going I think in my head as I read... I know there is more untold...

Daryl said...

Oh poor David .. I hope things improve in the next installment ..


Jo Beaufoix said...

Now that is a bad couple of days. Can't wait to see what will happen next.

sybil law said...

David deserves a break!
Or not. He sounds kinda like a putz, too.

holly said...

jeeeeez. my day positively ROCKED in comparison. i am on top of the world, compared to this fictional character. nice. :)